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Pre-nucleation in the metal–organic framework crystallisation

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

We seek to recruit a highly motivated and talented PhD student in the School of Chemistry at the University of Birmingham within the research group of Dr Hamish H-M Yeung. The successful candidate will be part of an international multidisciplinary effort aimed at revealing new understanding in the formation and organisation of responsive matter.

Recent advances in metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) have led to enormous interest in the fields of gas storage, sensing, separations and catalysis. These highly tunable, porous materials can be synthesized under relatively mild solvothermal conditions, which allow access to a wealth of self-assembled phases. Uncovering the mechanisms by which MOFs form will allow new materials to be created and existing materials to be synthesized in a more sustainable way.

This project will investigate the recent phenomena of pre-nucleation complexes and their role in MOF formation.[1] It seeks to understand how the metal–ligand chemistry of the solution state affects the crystallization mechanism and, ultimately, how it may be controlled to target specific MOF phases for sensing applications.

The student will acquire skills in laboratory synthesis, analytical chemistry, crystallography and materials characterization. The multidisciplinary nature of the project means that they will gain experience in a range of techniques through collaborations within and beyond the School of Chemistry, including central scientific facilities, such as Diamond Light Source, the UK’s national synchrotron. The student will be part of a larger research group within Solid State and Materials Chemistry at UoB and have the opportunity to interact with researchers spanning diverse disciplines locally, nationally and internationally.

Candidates should hold or be about to complete a Masters degree in Chemistry, Materials Science or a similar subject. They are expected to have interests in one or more areas out of materials, self-assembly, intermolecular interactions, kinetics, crystallography and sensing. For more details please contact the primary supervisor, Dr Hamish Yeung, University of Birmingham, School of Chemistry and visit

Funding Notes

Funding is available at home UK/EU level.

We are keen to achieve a gender and diversity balance across the School and therefore welcome applicants from all backgrounds. The School of Chemistry holds an Athena SWAN Bronze Award, which recognises its work in promoting women’s careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine in higher education.


[1] “Control of Metal–Organic Framework Crystallization by Metastable Intermediate Pre‐equilibrium Species” H. H.-M. Yeung et al., Angewandte Chemie, International Edition 2019, 58, 566-571. DOI: 10.1002/anie.201810039.

How good is research at University of Birmingham in Chemistry?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 28.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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